LibreOffice moves up to 4.3 – today, you can’t own a better Office Suite
Two versions of LibreOffice were released in quick succession. You’ll find the latest iteration of the successful 4.2 series announced here, but slightly ahead of that 4.2.6 release, there was also the bump to a new development cycle. I was on a field trip to the US at the time of the 4.3.0 release announcement and was unable to devote time to updating the SlackBuild script and provide packages earlier than today.
The 4.3.0 announcement claims that the new release comes with “a large number of improvements and new features, including: Document interoperability, Comment management and intuitive spreadsheet handling“.
What’s new in LibreOffice?
Here is some more detail about these three major improvements in 4.3.0:
- Document interoperability: support of OOXML Strict, OOXML graphics improvements (DrawingML, theme fonts, preservation of drawing styles and attributes), embedding OOXML files inside another OOXML file, support of 30 new Excel formulas, support of MS Works spreadsheets and databases, and Mac legacy file formats such as ClarisWorks, ClarisResolve, MacWorks, SuperPaint, and more.
- Comment management: comments can now be printed in the document margin, formatted in a better way, and imported and exported – including nested comments – in ODF, DOC, OOXML and RTF documents, for improved productivity and better collaboration.
- Intuitive spreadsheet handling: Calc now allows the performing of several tasks more intuitively, thanks to the smarter highlighting of formulas in cells, the display of the number of selected rows and columns in the status bar, the ability to start editing a cell with the content of the cell above it, and being able to fully select text conversion models by the user.
Equally interesting news is that the developers state the following about the first 4.3 version even though this is a milestone release: LibreOffice “has reached a point of maturity that makes it suitable for every kind of deployment, if backed by value added services by the growing LibreOffice ecosystem“. This is a claim which would be made in the past only after several bug fix iterations had seen the light. To stress this point, the announcement informs us that “the quality of LibreOffice source code has improved dramatically during the last two years, with a reduction of the defect density per 1,000 lines of code from an above the average 1.11 to an industry leading 0.08“. Impressive maturing of a complex piece of software, which tells something about the dedication with which the developer community works on LibreOffice!
If you want to read more about all the new stuff in LibreOffice 4.3.0 there’s also the release notes. Lots of information there!
Note that I upgraded the LibreOffice packages in my Slackware 14.1/current repository from 4.2.5 to 4.3.0, which means that currently there is no 4.2 version to be found anymore (I offer LibreOffice 4.1.6 in the Slackware 14.0 repository). I am assuming that there are no major regressions in the 4.3.0 release but in the case where LibreOffice 4.3.0 proves unworkable, let me know and we’ll work something out with regard to availability of the old 4.2.5 packages. I added a build script for LibreOffice 4.2.6 in the sources directory, in case you want to try building 4.2.6 yourself.
With regard to MS Office compatibility, I have another remark. In the 4.2 releases I added copies of two open source TrueType fonts which are metric-compatible with two popular Microsoft fonts. Having these fonts available to LibreOffice means that the layout of MS Office documents when you open them in LibreOffice will be unaltered because the replacement fonts (Carlito for MS Calibri and Caladea for MS Cambria) have the same font metrics as the Microsoft ones. When updating the libreoffice.SlackBuild script I decided that I would rather have these two fonts available to the whole system, not just to LibreOffice. Therefore I created two separate packages for these fonts, and if you do not yet have the (non-free) Microsoft web core fonts installed I advise you strongly to install the open source Carlito and Caladea font packages.
LibreOffice 4.3.0 packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current are ready for download from the usual mirror locations:
- http://www.slackware.com/~alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/ (master site)
- http://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/ (my own US mirror)
- http://repo.ukdw.ac.id/alien-libreoffice/ (Indonesia)
- http://alien.slackbook.org/slackbuilds/libreoffice/ (US)
- http://slackware.org.uk/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/ (UK)
A note about KDE integration:
If you are on KDE and simply “upgradepkg” the libreoffice packages, your application may suddenly look very out of style, having switched to a GTK look & feel. All you need to do is “installpkg” the new libreoffice-kde-integration package (I split the KDE support out of the big LO package and into its own separate package for LO 4.2.3, so it’s possible that you already have it).